Blue Line

Pride march in Sudbury scrapped due to concerns about police role

July 12, 2023  By Laura Stradiotto, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

July 12, 2023, Sudbury, Ont. – Fierte Sudbury Pride cancelled its march scheduled for Saturday as part of Pride Week following statements issued by Black Lives Matter Sudbury calling on the organization to “decentre” police within their programming.

Greater Sudbury Police Service issued a statement on Monday indicating they respect Fierte Sudbury Pride’s decision and that they “will continue to work towards repairing and creating relationships built on mutual respect and understanding.”

The concern about police involvement was expressed during a meeting at the end of June between Fierte Sudbury Pride and BLM Sudbury when it came to a discussion about programming and safety efforts. At this time BLM expressed their disappointment that Fierte Sudbury Pride intended to involve Greater Sudbury Police Service with their activities, and specifically their march.

In a statement issued by BLM and posted to social media on June 30, the organization referred to the Stonewall riots to reinforce their position. “Police have a longstanding history of targeting queer spaces and criminalizing 2SLGBTQ+ people,” they stated. In addition, BLM reminded Fierte Sudbury Pride that the pride movement is rooted in “organizing and radical community care” and largely successful due to the work done by Black and Brown 2SLGBTQ+ activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Storme DeLaverie, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde and Angela Davis.


“Pride March should be led by and for 2SLGBTQ+ communities,” BLM Sudbury stated.

In a statement issued on social media on July 8, Fierte Sudbury Pride said that it realizes that members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community will be disappointed with the decision to cancel the march but wants to ensure its programming is a safe space for all members of its community. “Pride is a protest,” Fierte Sudbury Pride said it its statement. “This is fundamental to the 2SLGBTQ+ community and Fierte Sudbury Pride. 2SLGBTQ+ organizations have the responsibility to continue anti-oppression and anti-racism work, and to work to dismantle systems that cause harm. We sincerely apologize to the community to failing to plan our Pride March with these values in mind.”

Fierte Sudbury Pride said it is committed to being “part of the progress and not undermine the work that has already been done by people of colour.”

Although members met with mayor Paul Lefevbre to ask if the march could continue with volunteer marshals, current bylaws and restrictions under the Highway Traffic Act do not permit organizations to use city roads without police in place as traffic control. While Fierte Sudbury Pride does have the option to work with a third-party private company to provide traffic control, the organization said it is too costly for a small organization to accomplish in a short amount of time.

Fierte Sudbury Pride could not be reached for further comment by Sudbury Star press time.

For its part, GSPS said its role during community events, including events that occupy roadways, is to ensure the safety of participants and the community as well as orderly flow of traffic. However, it acknowledged the work required to repair “strained relationships” with some of its community members.

“Through our Authentic Inclusion and Anti-racism reframing policing working groups comprised of GSPS members and external members of diverse communities including 2SLGBTQ+ and BIPOC, we continue to work towards repairing strained relationships with organizations, agencies and diverse communities in Greater Sudbury,” GSPS said.

“As a learning organization, we welcome open dialogue and opportunities to make meaningful and impactful changes to improve our service-delivery model.”

– The Sudbury Star

Print this page


Stories continue below